Woman to Woman: Law Firm of Adams and Reese Hosts a Panel Discussion Between Women of Color in the Profession

by Mike Mintz on April 15, 2010 · 3 comments

in Large law firm issues,Martindale-Hubbell Connected

A picture speaks a thousand words.

The law firm of Adams and Reese knows this well and so they are sharing the photo gallery from their recent Women of Color in the Profession Panel.  Check out the photos on their website.

On April 7th, the firm hosted 25-Louisiana law students from Loyola, Southern, Tulane and LSU for a real life, candid discussion on what female minority students can do to prepare and transition into the work place.  From the pictures you can see that the students looked engaged in the discussion as they learned about some of the challenges women lawyers face, especially when they belong to a minority group.

Issues for women lawyers.

There are many issues facing women lawyers today.  The following list, derived from a study by the National Association of Women Lawyers, comes from an October 2009 event in Martindale-Hubbell Connnected back in October 2009 (check out the NAWL group on Connected for more resources on this topic – registration is required):

  • Leadership – woman comprise only 6% of managing partners, and have a longer path to equity partnership than men
  • Compensation – the highest compensated lawyer at a firm is male 99% of the time
  • Rainmaking – almost half of firms have NO women in the top 10 and one third of firms have only 1 woman in the top 10
  • Governance – “firms with more than 15% women on governing committee have less gender disparity in compensation among partners”

Adams and Reese as Part of the Solution

One of the best ways to solve gender disparity issues in law firms is to create a strong network of women leaders.  The event at Adams and Reese aimed to do that, and in the process, groom the next generation of women leaders to enter the profession.

Panelists included corporate counsel and law firm lawyers. Dominique Bright-Wheeler, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Capital One and Ruth Ramsey, Vice President and General Counsel of Liberty Bank & Trust represented the corporate perspective, with Kelly McNeil Legier, Director of Member Outreach and Diversity of the Louisiana State Bar Association providing an industry perspecitve.  Lawyers from Adam and Reese included Debbie Rouen, the Chair of the firm¹s Diversity Committee, Jaimme Collins, Michelle Craig, Jade Russell, and Lauren Delery (click the links to see their Martindale-Hubbell profiles).

About the Commitment to Diversity at Adam and Reese

Debbie Rouen, Chair of Adam and Reese Diversity Committee

From the Adam and Reese event page:

Adams and Reese is committed to fostering and expanding diversity within the firm as well as in the community. The firm has been named one of the Top AmLaw 200 Firms for Diversity; one of the Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity (2008) in MultiCultural Law magazine; and recognized in Women 3.0 magazine among the Top 100 Law Firms for Women.

Adams and Reese was also honored with an “Encouraging Diversity” Minority Business Award for three consecutive years by the Birmingham Business Journal (2007, 2008, 2009), and in November 2006, by International Paper, as a recipient of their “Lighthouse Award” for the firm’s diversity initiatives and fostering diversity in the legal profession. Around that same time, the firm’s Diversity Committee launched its continuing internal “Diversity Awareness Campaign.” This campaign went on to receive a first place SELMA award in the Firm Promotional Item category at the Legal Marketing Conference.

What is YOUR Firm Doing About Diversity?

Do you have diversity programs for law students like the one at Adams and Reese?  Tell us about it.  What about in the firm itself?  What steps are being taken at your firm to value diversity and insure that talent gets recognized regardless of color or gender?

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